Joel Edgerton writes, directs and stars in The Gift, a capable thriller about the perils of bullying and moving back home.
Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall play Simon and Robyn, a married couple returning to California, where Simon has a new job. While shopping for throw pillows, they run into Gordo (Edgerton), a high school pal who Simon doesn’t seem to remember at first. Gordo goes out of his way to welcome the new couple, dropping by the house uninvited, stocking their pond with fish—and basically creeping Simon out.
As the film progresses, more is revealed about Simon, his past with Gordo, and his dishonesty. Bateman, who usually opts for more comedic roles, is very good as a man who thinks he is in control and can get away with habitual fibbing. Hall is terrific as the wife who can’t help but feel a little sorry for Gordo. Edgerton is creepy and, somehow, sympathetic as the strange man from the past who wants Simon to remember him in the worst of ways.
Edgerton shows that he can write a screenplay with some good twists, direct so there are plenty of surprises, and act so well that it’s good and scary. He’s a true triple threat.
The Gift is playing at theaters across the valley.